Updated Policy for Community Service in lieu of Jail Time

community-service

After much consideration, the Superior Court Bench has decided to alter our unwritten process for handling of criminal sentencing where a conversion of jail time to community service is being requested.

Historically, sentencing was continued after plea of guilty to allow a defendant to complete some proposed amount of community service, even though that had not been imposed by the Court.

Moving forward, when the plea is taken in such cases, we intend to proceed with sentencing at that time. If the request for community service is made and granted, we will impose sentence at that time for community service and then setting a review hearing to determine completion. If the community service is not completed at the time of review, the un-completed portion will be converted to jail time unless the judge grants an extension The sentencing Judge will remove the language that DOC is to supervise the community service, and it will be up to the defendant to provide to the Court, through counsel, written documentation of the completion of any ordered community service at the review hearing.

Community service hours must be completed at a non-profit organization. Proof of the hours completed must be on the non-profit organization's letterhead and signed off by an authorized representative.If proof is not provided, any undocumented community service may be converted back to jail time at the reviewing Judge's discretion. Defendants should assume that, absent dire emergency circumstances, extensions of time to complete the hours will not likely be granted.

This policy is effective immediately for cases that have not already been handled using the old system. Existing cases where sentencing has been set out to complete community service under our former informal system will be managed as before. A copy of this policy is available from our website at our Policies and Procedures Page:

https://www.cowlitzsuperiorcourt.us/policies-and-procedure-announcements

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